The aunt of a young South African staff member who died aboard the MSC cruise ship has revealed details about her demise. Hombisa “Nana” Mafuduka, 29, was discovered dead aboard the MSC Orchestra on March 24 with a broken neck and a head injury, according to her aunt Lulama “Lulu” Mafuduka in an interview with the South African news source ILO.
The terrible incident occurred in the staff room after a young woman suffered a serious injury as the cruise ship was sailing from Mozambique to Durban.
When the cruise ship docked in Durban, police began looking into the circumstances of the woman’s death. According to information provided by the ship, the woman was on duty when she was discovered dead, according to SA National Police.
MSC Cruises’ spokesperson in South Africa told the Daily News shortly after the tragedy that the cruise line had contacted the staff member’s family and expressed their sincere sorrow for their loss.
“The death, which we believe to have been of an accidental nature, is being investigated by the local authorities and we will continue to provide every assistance,” MSC Cruises spokesperson said.
The crew member’s aunt, who had been caring for Nana with her three brothers since their mother died, disclosed facts of a significant head injury and a broken neck in an interview with ILO.
Nana’s aunt received a call from MSC Cruises on March 24 at about 11 p.m., alerting her that her niece had died and that she would be contacted by authorities the next day to identify the body.
She was told that her niece had “vomited blood and was taken to the ship’s infirmary, resuscitated and on her way back collapsed and passed away, making us believe it was a natural death”.
“I waited on Friday and didn’t receive any call. I pleaded with the HR manager to give me the police contact numbers. I asked to come to Durban since they had also said they were preparing to do an autopsy. I questioned why, and how was it being done without us, her family members?”
Nana’s aunt travelled to Durban the next day, where she learned that her niece’s remains had been recognized by a “mystery cousin.”
When she wanted to see the body, authorities told her that she didn’t have authorization and that she needed to return on Monday.
“After a huge argument, they allowed me to see her body. To my surprise and complete shock, I found the opposite of what was said. She had a major head injury and a broken neck. To this day as family, we are still left wondering as to what happened to Nana. MSC hasn’t given us answers,” she said.
“The events that led to this tragedy are under investigation by the police and we have co-operated with them throughout their investigation, and will continue to do so, in the hope that more light will be shone on the circumstances and cause of her untimely death.” MSC spokesperson said.
Hombisa “Nana” Mafuduka was laid to rest on 9 April, 2022.